"Decide the friends, mentors & leaders you want in your life, in your inner circle, and court them with emotional generosity. Make it matter." ~ Gary W. Goldstein
Deciding who we have in our lives is a question we must face ourselves and challenge it. The term 'popular', meaning, 'someone who is liked my everyone' is a facade that we will someday learn or even have learned, that never actually exists.As we grow into adulthood and learning who we really are, keeping a close group of friends is not an easy task. The challenge of trying to figure out who your real friends are relies on many factors including trust, responsibility, maturity and morals, Do you want to be around people who are always talking about other people? What if they are talking about you when you are not around? It is almost a guarantee that people who are always talking about someone else in a negative manner when they are with friends, are the same people who will have something to say about you. While this is very hurtful, it is life. You may not be able to change or stop someone from continuing this behavior, but you can chose to walk away from them.
In our society, it is a constant phenomenon to always be surrounded by or pressured to engage in drinking and partying to try to 'be cool' or 'be social' like 'everyone else'. Do you want to be around people whose main priority is to constantly party? To chase that next drink or high? Friends like these may seem fun in the early stages of your adult years. As you grow, level up and realize what should be prioritized, it can be a very negative environment to be in as a friend to someone who does this. It is so easy for people who party even during the weekdays and every weekend to become addicted to alcohol and other substances. Excessive partying can lead to addiction, alcohol poisoning, drinking and driving accidents, overdoses and even death. While you may want to be there for someone you care about who is facing an obstacle like this, it is very difficult to try to change or even persuade someone to change or to take accountability for their behavior. If you are friends with someone who is an addict, what is they are driving the car with you as a passenger and both of your lives are lost? It is too late to go back in time and make the hard but responsible choice if they do not accept help themselves.
Keeping a close group of friends will always be optimal over a large group of friends who you can't trust, rely and create positive memories with in your life. If you ever struggle with finding out who your real friends are and who you want in your circle, do not feel alone or overwhelmed. It is almost guaranteed that your true circle of friends in your life will change as you become older and go through life. It is natural to realize who you want to surround yourself with and who you do not. It is natural to want to be more and receive more out of your life.
Never let anyone stop you or convince you otherwise!
"It's not what you know, it's who you know"
This is a phrase that is often spoken but we never realize how true it is. But the problem with this is that if we only rely on who we know, how are we going to grow, be independent and emerge into our own potential?
One of the worst bad habits that we reach in either our teenage or adult years is asking the question, "When will they..?" This can follow into the categories of jobs, relationships, friendships and other situations that we cross in our lives. For example, maybe you have been dreaming of going into a career where you do not have that much experience. A friend you have says they know someone who works in that career and says that they can help you out with a job. You then are put into the position of having to wait, rely and constantly reach out to them to hear back about the position...that someone else said you could get. The problem with this is that you cannot rely on other people to hand you your dream job or career. You can't expect your friends to try to set you up with new friends or into a relationship. The reason why this is a problem is because the second you rely on someone else it begs the question..."How bad do you really want it?", "How motivated are you?" "Will you always let or expect your dreams, goals, etc to just be handed to you?"
These are important questions because once you give up your power, motivation, desire and responsibility, you are left with never having your own independence or freedom. You are left into the negative mindset and habit of always waiting for the "next best thing" or the "next best person" to give you what you should be getting or working towards on your own. There is no greater feeling then working towards a goal, a job, a career or relationship and finally having your goal come true. Why did it come true? Because you put your own energy, motivation, desire, patience and handwork into what you wanted. When you rely on other people, you are giving them the chance to say no. But, when you work and achieve what you are aiming to accomplish, the feeling and pay off is that much more worth it.
You truly earned it!
Sometimes in life, we lose things that mean a great deal to us. Weather is it a job, a relationship, a friendship or something else.
It can make us overthink, over stress and overanalyze every moment, conversation or interaction which led up to this moment of loss. Some experts say that "Time heals all". Though this statement is true, there are many more factors than just letting the days pass by to give you more "time". Time can help you move on, but it takes more than just time.
For example, if you just got broken up with or ended a relationship, time can help you focus on yourself, get your confidence back and heal yourself. But it takes so much more than just time. You have to really believe that you were meant for better, deserve better and get back your power and confidence. Of course this is easier said than done, but these factors are critical to really healing and moving forward with your life after a relationship that meant so much to you. Maybe you were a partner who invested so much time and energy into helping your partner achieve their goals, ideas and dreams. While this is a great foundation to have in any relationship, you do not want to over invest yourself into any relationship. When you over invest and are available all the time to help, you get taken for granted. You time, ideas and energy can be stolen or taken for granted and you end up giving out your best version of yourself to someone who didn't appreciate it. It can be difficult to move on from a relationship by someone who you thought was your 'best friend', but in our life; we meet people everyday who teach us lessons. It helps to think that "people don't abandon people they love or care about, they abandon people they were using." This quote is helpful and insightful because it shows that you can have a relationship with someone, but their intentions and actions speak more clearly than their words. You may think that the "world is ending" after losing your partner, but I promise you, there is so another adventure for you out in the world. You will find happiness, your ideal partner and it ever won't be too much. You will get your confidence back, your boundaries and self-worth will be stronger and you will never look back and think "why wasn't I enough?".
If you just got fired from a job or lost a huge opportunity, it can be difficult to put yourself back out there and start over again. Sometimes in life, people may think that a job 'defines' us. After years of my own experience, it can give you more insight into who a person is, but a job isn't who a person is. It can be difficult to move on after you have invested so much of your time, energy and focus in a job that discarded you or didn't serve you. It can be difficult to start over and move on with your life after losing one of your main sources of income that supported you. One of the best ways that you can overcome this is to update your resume. This is a simple tip, but it really can set you apart from the competition. Nowadays with the new generation, people are becoming more creative and jobs are becoming more competitive. If you just have a black and white cluttered resume, how does this set you apart from the competition? Another way that can help you move on is to find out what you are really passionate about. So many people enter jobs that serve them financially, but not emotionally. If you are not emotionally invested in your job and are passionate about it, how can you ensure that you will be okay with waking up everyday and continuing a job that doesn't serve you happiness? Everyone deserves to have a job that they love, are passionate about and that can provide for them. Your needs are what is the most important!
Friendships are also another aspect life where they come and go. You may have had a huge group of friends in middle school, high school or even college. You may have considered these friends to be "the best people you ever met" or a "true friend" who would be around for life. While we grow older, change into who we are and life takes it course, friendships change. Maybe you move, go to a new school or just fall out of contact. These are obstacles that often break apart friendships. While it may be difficult to let go of past friendships or a current friendship, it is more important to have a few people in your true circle who know you are, you can depend on and those who will truly be there for you. It can be hard to move on from someone who was in your life for a long period of time, but there is always someone else who will celebrate your success, be there for you when you need it and listen to you when you need to be heard. It may not come easily, but the journey is worth it.
Aristotle once said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
The relationship that you have with yourself is the more important one in your life. Friends, Family, and Relationships are all important relationships to have, but you must always come first. Learning who you are and diving into the depths of your personality, soul and charisma is your journey alone. Nobody can be the better accessor of you, then you.Throughout your life you form connections with others who have influence on you. If you do not know yourself, this can be a way that will give you an idea of who you are, who you are becoming or who you do not want to be. The people who we surround ourselves with have a major influence on our lives. They can be categorized as "good influences" or "bad influences". The question is, which one will you let in your life? Who will you allow in your life to shape, influence and guide you?
It is fair to say that somedays we get engulfed into our career, passions or social life that the focus on ourselves fades. Sometimes it can be easy to put attention and focus onto others because we care about them and want to be supportive in any way we can. As soon as the pictures comes out of focus on you, you can easily lose yourself. The big idea here is that when you really know you are, without a doubt; that's when you start making an impact on the world and on yourself. It is fair to say that when someone is trying to figure out who they really are, it can be difficult. Sometimes you find yourself acting differently in front of your friends compared to your parents. Or, you find yourself acting like a completely different person with any interaction you have with someone, a stranger or not. This can arise from insecurity within oneself, feeling uncomfortable with others or being pressured to act a certain way from peer pressure.
It is critical that you learn and take the time to be your most authentic self. You are the only one who has complete control of shaping your own views, attitudes, beliefs, thoughts, fears, worries and wishes. Learning who you are isn't something that comes easily and something that comes overnight. It may not even be clear to you at first. Whenever you face adversity, you will know how you overcame that situation and became more knowledgeable in how you handle difficult situations. Whenever you can or cannot communicate your thoughts, feelings or ideas to others, you will know what you need to improve on in your communication style and relationships. Whether or not you're aware of it, all these things come together to shape your mindset, which has a real impact on how you get to know yourself on the most fundamental level. There is always room to improve who you are as an individual, but most importantly, learn who you are.
Listening is critical in any situation in life. Whether it is relationships, friendships, your career or personal life. You have to want to listen to actually listen. You cannot multitask, distract yourself or become inattentive when listening.
In my own life, I can say that many friendships and relationships fall apart because others do not listen. Examples from my own life from what I have experienced as negative listening is : not paying attention to the speaker. Instances where you can tell when you are not being fully listened to can be when someone calls you, but you lead the conversation. Another instance can be when you are trying to converse with someone and they are playing video games or doing something other than being engaged in the conversation. Other instances can happen where you are facing a problem or issue and you tell a person how you are feeling. They stay silent, play on their phone and do not listen to you at all or with empathy. It can feel like you are talking and listening to yourself. Sometimes relationships or friendships fall apart because a person has not yet developed skills to become a good listener. Or, they think they are a good listener already, but do not realize that they are inattentive, dismissive, and not actually listening at all.
There can be in a situations where one person reveals deep and personal information about oneself during a conversation and the other person is doing something else and not fully engaged in the conversation. This is another negative listening habit. When you come to someone with the obstacles you are facing, it can be a huge let down when you realize that they aren't fully engaged in the conversation. They lose interest in the conversation and ultimately end up losing interest in you as a friend or significant other; because if they weren’t listening in the first place, why would they have interest in you or talking to you? If they aren’t fully engaged and listening to you, why should you expect a different outcome?
While sometimes it could be very difficult to lose someone as a friend or significant other in your life ultimately because they didn’t or ever listen to you, you have to remember that not everyone who you meet knows how to listen well or is ultimately meant to always be in your life. You want people in your life who will support you, care about you and listen to you and what you have to say. You cannot have a meaningful and healthy relationship with anyone if they cannot listen to you or want to. These are questions I sometimes ask myself after my own listening journey. You have to want to listen to listen. If you work on yourself to become a better listener through experience, books, podcasts, etc. You will become a better listener, BUT you have to work for it!
So, how do you actually become a better listener?
Listening Wisdom Points are some of the best foundations into becoming a better listener and putting these wisdom points into practice. These are the listening wisdom points I have learned myself from a listening course I took with author and listening leader, Rick Bommelji.
Mindful Silence, The Golden Pause, Comprehensive Listening, Appreciative Listening, Interpersonal Listening, Intrapersonal Listening, Platinum Rule (empathy), SIER.
SIER- Sense, Interpret, Evaluate, Respond, You have to care enough about the message coming to you for it to be relevant. You have to want to listen to listen. The steps of SIER can guide you on how to sense, interpret, evaluate the message before you respond to it. This shows active listening.
Your Mindset is between skills and attitude. You can view people through 2 mindsets: as people and as objects. You view them as objects and you probably don't care much. View them intentionally as people then the care escalates significantly.
1. The need to be understood
2) The need to have your feelings validated Empathy Levels
There are many different levels of listening with empathy. The more that you listen with empathy, the more you will have meaningful conversations and can practice listening.
1) Listener IGNORES and DETRACTS from CONTENT and FEELINGS of
2) Listener responds to content yet IGNORES speaker’s FEELINGS a) Try to SIER to put language around a persons feelings
3) Listener RESPONDS to CONTENT and to SURFACE FEELINGS
4) Listener RESPONDS to CONTENT and to TRUE FEELINGS
There are some of the listening foundations to becoming a better listener. While these tips can help somewhat, they barely scratch the surface on one's listening journey. Becoming a good listener doesn't come easy and doesn't come overnight. It could take weeks, months or even years. It is critical to be patient with yourself and allow yourself to make mistakes, grow and learn the best strategies will work for you. Remember, listening pays if you make the investment!
Feel the fear and do it anyways
Your own success is determined by your confidence and fortitude. The more you start to believe in yourself, the more you can and will accomplish. The more that you accomplish small wins in your personal life, you will gradually step up to the plate and want to set out on wins that grant you more potential; bigger wins.
Wherever it stems from, everyone has days where they are not feeling up to par or having doubts about theirselves. It takes a strong mindset and time to catapult into feeling confident in your own skin, your goals and your future. Feeling content with where you are today will allow you to be led by your higher self, reach out, and grasp for more.
Maybe you just got a new academic achievement, a new job position, or a promotion. These big wins in life place you onto life's next journey to accomplish even bigger wins and goals. You can always level up in life, work or even in yourself and your confidence will follow. You can choose to become a better person, further your education or become more involved in your professional career. Even the small wins count. They will instill confidence, security and a foundation for what you can do and what you will do in the future. The accomplishments you achieve, big or small; is something to celebrate and be proud of yourself for. The choices you make will guide you on a journey to finding out what is meant for you and what is next for you.
One way to gain more confidence and feel proud of all that you have already accomplished in life is to do a victory lap inventory. This means that you make a blueprint of all that you have already accomplished in your life. This can go back to when you were in middle school or high school and to where you are now. Writing out your accomplishments, big or small, will show you your courage, success and will lead you to endless capabilities for the future. It is also important to write out the obstacles you have overcome and how you overcame them. This will show you how strong you are and that if you can overcome any obstacle that impacted your life in a major way, you are ready for anything that comes your way. Whenever you face difficulty in your life, talking about it or writing about it can help tremendously. If you can overcome even a small issue or obstacle, you will learn how to face bigger ones that may face you one day.
When you start with small wins, you will be able to catapult yourself to want to reach new opportunities that will lead you to accomplish bigger wins. There's still so much more out there for you that hasn't come...yet. Take in who you are, who you've become and know that there is still a long journey ahead for you with many endless possibilities.
Sometimes in your life you will experience uncontrollable change and obstacles that come face to face with you. You cannot run from it or hide from it, but must find a way to overcome the situation, learn from it and adapt. Maybe you lost a job, a relationship, or experienced a situation that made you feel like you were totally out of control of your own life.
While this is will at least happen to everyone at least once or more in their life, everyone handles it differently. The feeling of losing control or being out of control. The thing about control and your own power that you have in your life is that it is yours alone, nobody else's. Each individual has their own path in life in which they are exploring everyday. Each individual has their own divine power and internal guidance that leads them on their own path in life and discovering who they are. When you experience loss or lose control of something in your life, it is easy to place blame. If you lose a job, a relationship, a pet, etc, It can be easy to place blame onto someone else, an organization, God, etc, but blame is one of the most poisonous things that you can hold on to. The inability to forgive or let go puts you in a constant state of dwelling, un forgiveness and restlessness.
When you start to let go of blame, you will learn to regain your power back.
It is so critical to trust yourself. When you trust yourself you know that you have confidence, self esteem, dignity and self worth. You know that the choices you make are good choices and that you have the control in your life. You have to have the courage to walk alone and being alone first. You have to feel confident in your own skin and own who are you are. Doing this will give you confidence and power within yourself to know who you are, who you are not and seeing yourself as so many other things besides powerful. You will start to see yourself as strong, courageous and brave; who you were meant to be. Realizing that your life is yours alone will give you the strength to overcome obstacles and situations that seem out of your control.
The popular phrase, "You cannot fall or be in love with someone else if you do not love or are in love with yourself first" is extremely true but often disregarded. It is often disregarded because people believe that they can love someone else without feeling love for themself first. When you know who you are and love yourself, loving others comes easily and from a true and genuine place.
Maybe they really care for someone but do not care much about themselves. Maybe they feel so deeply for other people but do not know how to love themselves.
Sometimes in life we go through times of loss, stress, or trauma that effects us in a deep way. Maybe you just got out of a relationship, lost a family member, eating and drinking unhealthy or you stop taking care of your mind of body. You may say, "Oh well, I'll just move on and love myself immediately because that's what I need right now." this may be your thought process at first, but honestly, this is hurtful to yourself in the long run and is not the right way to heal and love yourself truly.
Loving yourself and learning how to care deeply about yourself does not come easily or overnight. It may take years or until you are in your prime adult years until you learn how to love yourself and feel confident in your own skin.
Acceptance is the key to loving yourself
Social media surrounds us everyday capturing our attention and focus. We scroll endlessly throughout different applications and see hundreds of messages and content daily. What we see on social media and interact with has a huge impact on ourselves, even if we don't admit it to others. We may see celebrities or friends post pictures or content and feel that we are behind. We may feel not as successful, good looking , talented or special. It is important to limit the time you spend on social media because your time you spend online can strongly influence how you feel and how you feel about yourself. It is important to not compare yourself to anyone because we are all different and unique. While this is difficult to do and takes time, it is critical.
Accepting yourself and who you are not just gives you self love and confidence but others will feel the radiance of your confidence and love too.
Intention is everything.
Ask yourself, Have you ever said yes to something you didn't want to do to please someone else? Have you ever allowed yourself to be treated with less respect than you deserved because you were afraid or uncomfortable with confrontation? Or have you ever been put into a situation where someone tried to push against your own morals and beliefs? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may not have strong or clear boundaries as an individual. You may ask yourself, "Aren't I fine just being who I am?" or "Why does it really matter if I do or do not?"
Setting and having clear boundaries is an important part of self love, care and development. It is imminent for our own self growth to learn from any situation we did not like and learn from it.
Setting clear boundaries can look like this
You may have had friendships or relationships that did not work out in your favor because you did not have clear boundaries set. You may have let others walk all over you, pleased them whenever they wanted, been there for them over and over again...but did not do those things for yourself. I know I have. This can show someone you work with, a friend, family member or partner: that you do not have a strong respect for yourself. The Golden Rule states that you should treat others the way you want to be treated. If you have self respect, self worth and know what you do and do not like, people will respect you back.
If someone cannot except your boundaries or tries to push you on them, hold the door wide open for them. It is critical to know that you are worthy, enough, and deserve the very best. At the end of the day when all you are left with is yourself, you have to keep telling yourself these things and believe them.
Setting clear boundaries may take time, but is imminent to protect yourself, grow, and respect yourself.